The answer to this question highly depends on the reasons for your fast, and the type of fast you may be commencing. For instance, if the fast is for religious purposes, (i.e., fasting on Yom Kippur in Judaism) the answer may very well be no. That being said, some religions do permit water during a fast, or a priest may provide a special “dispensation” to allow water for those who take daily medications.
If you are fasting for weight loss, water is fully permissible and indeed, highly advisable. Dehydration can have serious side effects, so don’t drink less than eight glasses of water every day!
Blood tests which require fasting have very specific requirements. While small amounts of water are permitted and prescription medication should be taken (unless otherwise instructed by your doctor), coffee, tea, milk, juice, food, chewing gum, smoking, alcohol, and even exercise are forbidden prior to the test, as any and all of these may well cause false positives/negatives or other major discrepancies on your results.
Consider A Water Fast For Your Health
Water fasting itself is also a type of therapeutic fasting. As with all forms of fasting, it is another way to detoxify the body, most specifically the liver, intestines and lymphatic systems. Yogis often practice 72-hour water fasts, using water to hydrate and flush/cleanse the body, as well as a means of staving off hunger.
The benefits of water fasting are said to be as follows:
- Because the human digestive tract works ceaselessly 24 hours a day to remove toxic wastes from the body, allowing it to take a vacation during a fast provides the digestive system the opportunity to renew itself, thereby making the individual feel stronger and more energetic.
- Further, the immune system strengthens during a fast, and this in turn, when practiced over time, can lead to a longer lifespan.
- Weight loss of course is another advantage, since a 72 hour fast may help you to drop anywhere from 3-6lbs. Be aware however that you will likely regain this weight once you break the fast unless you maintain a strict diet.
- For the spiritual or religious, water fasting helps to clarify and analyze the mind, encourages and improves discipline (after all, you are depriving yourself of food and not giving in to hunger or cravings), and makes it simpler to stick to your diet after the fast.
- Many people also say that water fasting helps them on an emotional level, and improves their meditation and/or prayer practices. By learning to master the desires of the body, it is easier to master your thoughts and feelings, and be at peace within yourself.
If you choose to follow a water fast, it’s a good idea to have a professional keep an eye on you. An organization—called the International Association of Hygienic Physicians–helps to put people in touch with physicians who specialize in observing Therapeutic Fasting and ensuring that individuals who undergo such treatments do so safely.